Laser Cut Gaskets

Now and then I need gaskets for one of my projects. Of course I could cut a gasket out of a sheet of gasket material with scissors or X-acto knife and use punches for the holes but using a laser cutter would make a nicer gasket and I would have a record of the design that I could re-cut anytime I needed another.

One of my current projects is building a filing machine from castings. It needs a gasket for the crankcase cover as the crank runs in an oil bath. It was easy to design a gasket for the filing machine as the necessary dimensions are available in the filing machine drawings. Using the dimensions I drew up the gasket in Fusion 360. There are CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) tools in Fusion 360 which even includes laser cutting. There is also available a post processor for Fusion 360 to output G-code for the Merlin software my laser cutter uses.

It only took a few minutes to draw up the gasket and output the G-code. I did a test cut on some printer paper to make sure the design was correct. I had to scale it up a bit to get it to fit just right. (The cutter probably isn’t calibrated quit right.)

The final gasket was cut out of Fel-Pro gasket material 1/32″ thick. I used three passes of the laser. Two probably would have done it but I wanted to make sure it was cut through. The gasket material comes in rolls and the biggest problem was getting it to lay flat in the cutter. From now on I am going to store the material flat.

Here is the completed gasket sitting on the cover it goes to.

Next I have to make a couple of gaskets for my lathe spindle bearings.

I haven’t tried it yet but another approach for a more complicated gasket like a small engine carburetor gasket would be to take a picture of the old gasket or mating surface then use Inkscape to  generate a path and then G-code for the cutter from the photo. I have done this with Inkscape but not for a gasket.

References:

https://jimhannon.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/cnc-laser-cutter-engraver-build/

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